7 Things That Blogging Does

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Seven years ago (2003), I posted my first Blog post here. The day would have slipped by had someone not sent me a note about it.

After tweeting about my Blogaversary, Jay Fleischman, replied: "@mitchjoel 6.18 posts/wk for 7 yrs. Take out 1 for the podcast and you’re at 5.18; 400 words ea = 2,072 words/wk. 754,208 words total. Nice." my newspaper column for the Montreal Gazette and Vancouver Sun (which will be cross-posted here tomorrow) is all about the future of Blogging. That being said, after 7 years and 2251 Blog posts, I have learned some very important lessons about the value of Blogging when I think back.

7 Important Lessons About Blogging:

  1. Blogging = Critical Thinking. If everything else went away (the readers, the comments, the community, the feedback), Blogging was (and still is) an amazing place to think about an issue or news item and work through it. I liken myself as a Media Hacker. A Blog is a great place for anyone to be a Hacker of whatever it is that they love. If you don’t believe me, then just watch this: Blogging Still Matters… Now More Than Ever.
  2. Blogging = Ideation. In using your Blog as a platform for your critical thinking, you will quickly start uncovering new and interesting business models and ideas for how you can push your industry forward or how it can/should be thinking differently. Writing a Blog, reading the comments and feedbacking into them is the ultimate Petri dish for ideation and innovation.
  3. Blogging = Tinkering. The ideas and critical thinking are not always one hundred percent final. Blogging allows you to tinker with ideas. To work at them (like a complex mathematical formula). Slowly, over time, you start realizing how wrong you were, how visionary you were and how much further you still have to go.
  4. Blogging = Relationships. It’s not about sitting in the dark recesses of your basement as you tinker away with words and thoughts. It’s about using this platform to connect. It’s about real interactions with real human beings. Some of my best friends are people that I would not have otherwise met were it not for Six Pixels of Separation (the Blog, not the concept). If you Blog, step out into the physical world. Meet other Bloggers. Share, learn and collaborate with them.
  5. Blogging = Business. Make no mistake about it. This Blog started out as a means for Twist Image to tell the world how we think differently about Media, Marketing, Advertising and Communications. Over the years, this has attracted many world-class clients, speaking engagements, a book offer and many other amazing and interesting business opportunities. So, while this is not a place where Twist Image shills its wares, it is a place that is directly tied to our overall business objectives/strategy. It consistently delivers a very solid ROI to our bottom line (take that, you Social Media measurement naysayers!).
  6. Blogging = Sharing. As each day passes, I like Charlene Li‘s latest book, Open Leadership, more and more (her first book, Groundswell rocks as well). Many people think that Social Media is all about the conversation and engaging in the conversation. I believe what makes any media "social" is the ability to share it. To help you to open up. Not only can you share the concepts by telling your peers and friend about a Blog, but everybody shares in the insights as well (whether you work for my company or not). It has changed/evolved our corporate culture. A Blog makes you think more about how you can share your content, your thoughts and why others may want to work/connect to you.
  7. Blogging = Exhaust Valve. A great Blog is great because the Blogger actually cares and loves to create content. If it’s forced, if it’s your "job," then the passion rarely comes through. The biggest lesson I have learned in my seven years of Blogging is that this Blog is my exhaust valve. After working a full day with clients and their many challenges, this Blog is my playground. It’s the place where I can let off some textual steam. Make your Blog your exhaust valve. Caution: be careful that you’re not Blogging simply to blow off angry steam. The steam and exhaust I am talking about is the pent up energy of passion that I have from doing what I love to do.

What does Blogging equal for you?


  1. Blogging can shape the world. Change the world. Impact the people we walk this earth. Blogging has helped me inspire women around the world to create great change and improvement in their lives for the better. The opportunity to have a voice, to speak up for what’s right, and to give people perhaps a new spin on life is why I Blog. And I love it.

  2. Congrats Mitch – I have not been following you for 7 years – maybe 7 months via Twitter – but continue to enjoy your posts. My own 2 cents: blogging is definitely about critical thinking, ideation and tinkering – total agree that there is opportunity and need to push the envelope of thinking around leading and managing change. Here’s to another 7! Bravo

  3. Hey Mitch – I’ve been reading your blog ever since I got into the industry. Congrats on all your success and thanks for the insights.
    I have similar feelings about blogging, and now describe it as a process of learning and connecting. Learning roughly translates to 1-3 on your list. Connecting translates to 4-6. Not sure where #7 fits, but I’m sure it’s in there too.
    No doubt my philosophy was influenced in significant ways by your blog and podcasts. Good luck on the next 2251 posts.

  4. Blogging for me equals passion and connection. I developed a passion for breast cancer/healthcare issues after I got a front row seat thanks to five surgeries for DCIS. I started it in November with kind of an ulterior motive–I wrote a book–but selling books is really beside the point. When I get a comment from someone who’s been through it, or says I helped them, it just knocks me out.
    I don’t always get as many comments as I would like, but I know not everyone likes to put their comments out there–some people e-mail me to tell me how much they like it. I used to be a lurker myself until I got comfortable.
    Interesting post. Thanks.
    Jackie Fox
    Author, “From Zero to Mastectomy: What I Learned And You Need to Know About Stage 0 Breast Cancer”

  5. Congratulations on your blogaversary, Mitch! I started in Feb 2007 and have 350+ posts (two blogs with a weekly post on each).
    Blogging = Confidence
    Revealing myself in a permanent public way was scary but I wanted to improve my communication skills. Will anyone read? What will they think? Will my employer or clients be concerned? Will I to stick with this commitment? What if I run out of ideas?
    As the weeks turned into months, I found my voice and built momentum. I can do this! Blogging clarified my thinking. Blogging made my thoughts visible and findable. In the sense of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, people can instantly decide whether they’ll like me. They’re getting beyond a public face and peeking into a private place. And vice versa.

  6. I love your concept of Blogging = Exhaust Valve. Letting off some ‘textual steam’ as you call it is brilliant.

  7. Good points as usual, Mitch (and thanks for the H/T). Though I agree, I have found that the biggest selling points for blogging have been 1 and 2. The more I take the time to explain my thoughts, the more the ideas morph and crystallize into something that I – and my readers – can use in their own lives.
    It’s like someone looking at a transmission and saying, “all I’ve got to do is fix the thingamabob.” If the mechanic then draws out the diagram of HOW to fix the thingamabob, he’s going to not only make the process clearer to his customer but is also more likely to see how he can refine things.
    Of course, showing that depth of knowledge translates into business. But the real magic is in teaching others as well as yourself a better way.
    Here’s to your continued success; thanks for having us all along for the ride.

  8. Congratulations on the 7 years Mitch. Long time lurker, first time commenter here :).. Anyway, blogging started as a personal connection thing, just because it was cool to have friends link to me, and me link back to them…
    Right now, it’s mostly trying to use it for business, publish thoughts that might be useful for others etc.
    Although I enjoy blogging, I find that my problem is I can be so enthusiastic about blogging and have tons of ideas to write, and at other times just go blank for certain periods of time. The swing between too many things to post and the lack of ideas just sometimes paralyzes me completely from writing…. what do you (and other top bloggers) normally do when those times come?

  9. I think “Changing the World’ is an important addition. I hope, over my lifetime, to bring about a significant shift in how people think about jobs and making money, and my blog is a start on that process. Since it’s less than a year old, I’m in a lot of #s 1, 2, and 3, but it’s all to the purpose of making the world a better place.

  10. Mitch,
    One of my favorite phases these days is “Writing is the doing part of thinking” As I read this post that covers points 1-3. Then, (for my brain) the fun started. Points 4-7 – oh my gosh – while they are clear as day and I talk about them all the time the power of this list is all seven of these items in one place with detailed explanations. I’ve bookmarked this post. Thank you.

  11. I like the way that you have listed all the things that having a blog does for the blogger. We hear so often, and it is right, that the blog should be about the consumer, what they want, what you can do for them.
    The thing is, it certainly does some things for the blogger. Most of them good, some good for us whether we like it or not, and some we don’t like!

  12. Blogging = dreaming.
    No, not in a poetic way, but in a functional way. The REM phase of sleep associated with dreaming helps the brain categorize thoughts and memories, organize information and generally prevent you from snapping big time.
    Blogging does that for me: it helps me categorize my thoughts and organize them in a intelligible way.
    Of course I don’t blog just for that, there’s a business reason too, as it usually happens. But the “added value” of helping my mind shouldn’t be underestimated.

  13. I think it changes the world not because of the content we all publish, but simply because we can publish this content. Once we remove the “gatekeepers” (as Seth Godin calls them) of mass media and open the world up to a place where any one individual can publish their thoughts, the world has, indeed, changed.

  14. Blogs were created for stories like yours, Jackie. Reading your comment reminds me how important this platform is. Thanks for being open and willing to share your stories… by the sound of it you truly are changing the world.

  15. Confidence is a wonderful addition. You won’t be confident out of the gates (as you said), but over time the confidence to publish your thoughts candidly transcends the words and takes over your life… brilliant.

  16. I have not had that as an issue. I tend to have more than one topic I’d love to tackle, so the list of possible Blog posts is long. I know many Bloggers who do have that issue. My understanding is that they’ll Blog it all out and then schedule their posts over several days. This way, they have a buffer in case they do draw a blank. I hope that helps.

  17. Blogging is, ultimately, a selfish act. The hope is that by sharing how I (and other Bloggers) think that our selfish thoughts will resonate with others. I don’t really Blog to build audience. I Blog to put ideas out there and hope that those ideas connect. Maybe “selfish” is the wrong word.

  18. I hear you on the labor of love thing.
    I think those are the only blogs that really survive because in the beginning, you have to blog DESPITE no one reading it. (Then, when you make it big, you can say you’d still blog IF no one read it.) 🙂

  19. Huge congrats on your consistency and endurance. Great, informative, encouraging post. If I had to add one thing, it would be the combination of all of these elements into one word – therapy. Blogging as therapy. You feel empowered by having a voice, and the very process of writing and creating allows you to originate and process. When people say, sometimes not jokingly, wow, you live in New York and have never gone to a therapist? I say, well, I do blog 🙂
    Great content here on your blog…and very cool aesthetics!

  20. Hey Mitch – neatly summarized- I have your book – which dovetails nicely with two other great communicators – Seth Gpdin and Chris Anderson – simplicity is pretty underrated and the art of communicating an idea in a palatable way – is relatively uncommon
    Cheers Kiaran

  21. To me, blogging = discovery.
    My blog is very young, but it already helped me tremendously to find out who I am.
    Not that I was looking for it.
    I realized I had no idea as I started blogging. I realized I had no voice.
    I do now though.
    Thanks for your inspiring post, Mitch.

  22. Congrats on the 7 years. I have six on one of my blogs, so I’m not all that far behind. I’m definitely living the blogging = sharing concept, but not getting as much blogging = business out of any of my blogs. But I keep firing away because I have things to say, much like you.

  23. I don’t Blog to get business. I Blog and that makes me attractive to others and that brings me business. There’s not a direct correlation (but in a way there is)… if that makes any sense.

  24. Blogging = sexy
    In Ignore Everybody, Hugh talks about having a “sexy job/hobby” that you do outside of your normal job. It keeps you sharp, since you are constantly learning. Blogging is definitely that for me. It keeps me coming up with ideas for my marketing day job. I credit lots of my day job success back to the success I’ve had in blogging.

  25. It all depends on what you get out of it. If blogging was my full time job, it might not be sexy. Based on how much you do and what you use your blog for (and your response), it seems that your blog is sexy for you as well!

  26. I read this piece of writing completely regarding the comparison of most recent and previous technologies, it’s
    awesome article.

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